a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

When BAFTA announced yesterday morn that they were putting “The King’s Speech” on top of THEIR Oscar pile (The BAFTAs are considered the British Oscars) and that Movie About Typing at the Bottom with only 6 nominations, which it may not win.

Everybody took notice.

Why? Well, yes, the traditional age-old Snob Effect on the Academy of anything limey. Well, not ANYthing. They seemed to have kicked “Another Year” to the curb, sadly. WHERE IS LESLIE MANVILLE?!? Probably in Oscar limbo forever.

Category confusion is Oscar’s most deadly disease.

After winning Best Actress from the National Board of Review, Manville turned up NOwhere in the U.S. lists,or anywhere else, until she appeared in Supporting Actress at the BAFTA awards. Surprise! There she was at last. Back in her own country, not as Best Actress, but as Best Supporting Actress.

But the BIGGEST surprise of the BAFTAS that landed with a WALLOP was the omission of Golden Globe and BFCA winner for Best Supporting Actress( I tell ya, that race is a doozy this year) MELISSA LEO?!?

HOW is this possible? Well, I guess the Brits didn’t like the “Fighter” THAT much. They didn’t nominate it for Best Picture,and though they grudingly nominated Christian Bale and Amy Adams in Supporting,  they RRRREALLLY didn’t like Melissa’s Grand Guignol Monster Mom from Massachusetts.

Shocking it was that she was riding high SUNDAY NIGHT and now Monday morning they shot her down! She’s in stark jeopardy!

Oh, she’ll be nominated all right. The nominations had to be in to be counted by Friday. But can she win without the prestige of a BAFTA nom NOT on her CV?

In such a constantly changing category as this year’s Best Supporting Actress,(and Best Actress, too, come to think of it, but more on that later) Melissa Leo can be now counted as NOT A SURE THING. But don’t worry Melissa Leo fans, she WILL be nominated! But winning, I wonder…

I think she’s a great unsung American actress, who is now being sung.

But her low-class harpie mom-ster, Alice Eklund, may not be the right tune for the snobby Academy, though Melissa herself seems to know every single member personally and everybody LOVES her.

I think she can play anything. You give her a difficult role and boy! Will she go to town with it. Like she did last year with “Frozen River,” last year’s “Winter’s Bone”, a teeny tiny Indie directed by a woman about a woman (last year Leo, this year Jennifer Lawrence) who stands up to injustice and protects her brood at all costs in a rural setting.

Oscar goddess Sasha Stone’s unremitting advocating for Melissa Leo’s out-of-left field nomination for Best Actress actually contributed to making that nomination happen, IMHO.

She’s doing the same kind of tub-thumping this year for Jennifer Lawrence, who I can’t get behind, and whose nomination, I think, is shakier than people realize she is. And Melissa Leo is becoming a kind of feminist heroine.

She’s the older actress who has mucho chops, who is still fighting her way BACK to the Oscars, now two years in a row, it seems. Melissa Leo is an actress’ actress. She kinda sorta eschews glamour, like wearing her “old tux” to the BFCA awards when she won. And then an OK gown, that was so unremarkable her picture in it appeared NOWHERE in the MANY pictures of the Golden Globe’s red carpet, and the bejeweled, be-gowned actresses upon them. And where was Melissa? Nowhere to be found. And she won! And Natalie Portman the other big winner was EVERYwhere!

The Academy looks at that and sniffs, “Well, she’s not a star.” And she isn’t. The public doesn’t know her like those in the business do. Melissa who? But she’s a constantly working, supremely talented ACTRESS. Did you recognize her THIS year in another Oscar baity film “Convinction” as the evil policewoman who wrecks Sam Rockwell’s life? YES, that dried-up, prune-faced, lying cop was Melissa Leo, too!

All of these things should ad up to Melissa Leo winning a Supporting Actress Oscar, since she’s the type of actress this category and these awards were created for in the first place…but…she was SNUBBED by BAFTA!

But the thing about BAFTA is for the first time this year, people are noticing that we have a voting body that actually OVERLAPS the American Academy it is said to the tune of 1000 members out of 6000 AMPAS voters. And each year the Academy(and the press AND the blogosphere) is paying more attention than ever. It just keeps growing and growing . In coverage. In importance. And the more coverage the BAFTAs get, the more important. And influential, they become.

So who would be the BAFTA front-runner in that tumultous BSA category? I think it’s Helen Bonham-Carter as the slam-dunk.

My esteemed colleague David Karger at Entertainment Weekly takes this Oscar business VERY seriously. I always had the ultimate respect for his opinions, insights and conclusions. And Dave, like me, is still staunchly insisting that “The King’s Speech” is the front-runner to win Best Picture, and this avalanche of BAFTA nominations seem to prove us right.

ALLLL That Typing Movie’s awards were from the press. Who, let’s face it, spend all day typing.

BAFTA is the first time we’ve heard from a large group of industry professionals. And attention must by paid.

As I said earlier today at www.Awardsdaily.com , in the section of Comments on The BAFTAS!

I think where the BAFTAS have the most impact (on Oscar) is where there is a very close race, like this year’s Supporting Actress and certainly Best Picture.

When the BAFTAS finally do their thing, and announce their winners, it’s timed astutely to be RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE OSCAR VOTING PERIOD.

Personally, I think most Academy Members who are actually voting, mail their ballots (by Snail Mail, yes, that’s how they do it) immediately that they receive them.

But sometimes the BAFTAS have an impact in recent years that sways Oscar’s contests…like for instance, when it was Mickey Rourke v. Sean Penn a couple of years back for ANOTHER Pugilistic Movie “The Wrestler” v.Sean Penn’s assassinated Gay Rights leader Harvey Milk in “Milk.”

Actually, Rourke WON the BAFTA, then got up and made a truly embarassing acceptance speech dropping the F-bomb so may times on the stunned Limeys, it seemed like the Blitz was back on.

And I knew, I just knew, if there was any doubt in any Academy voters mind who STILL hadn’t mailed in their ballots, Rourke just lost it big time there. With that speech and the Academy was NOT going to let itself be embarassed by awarding him in the same way. The Snob Effect. See.

So Sean Penn won and he should’ve for his great portrayal of a complicated, but sweet crusader…who died SUCH a tragic death.

I could go on.

And I will.

Also, take the instance of Marion Cotillard’s surprise win at the Oscars the year before that. She trounced Brit legend Julie Christie in the politically correct Alzheimer’s movie “Away From Her.”

How did THAT happen? Marion a UNKNOWN foreign actress acting in her own language (French) WON for playing Edith Piaf, gave a beautiful, totally shocked, moving acceptance speech at the BAFTAs for “La Vie En Rose” and then WON at the Oscars.

It also didn’t hurt that night that at the BAFTAS that Best Actor winner Daniel Day Lewis said in HIS acceptance speech that “Marion Cotillard is acting on a different level than all of us.” And I think that sealed Marion’s deal.

Marion also MOVED to L.A. during this crucial voting period and went to EVERY Hollywood party and charmed and enchanted all her met her, as did my other unknown(at the time) actress friend Marcia Gay Harden, who appeared out of nowhere to be nominated with no precursor awards. In 2000. But “The Stephen Holt Show” had her.

And SHE won. Best Supporting Actress for “Pollock”.

So who could surprise? Who could win THIS year? Well, it looks like it’s Natalie Portman, an American princess to be sure for “Black Swan.” BAFTA, yes, has nominated her for Best Actress.

But wait! Who else popped out of nowhere at BAFTA?!? NOOOOOMI RAPACE!??

And “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” the last of the Steig Larsson Millenium Trilogy, picked up three nominations at BAFTA including Noomi’s Best Actress.

And wait, she’s foreign. But hardly unknown in London, where she has moved to escape the paparazzi-fest  that her incredible portrait of  Lisbeth Salander turned  her life into in her native Sweden.

She’s embraced London and British society totally. And they her. And I just have this feeling that the Brits feel this immense sense of injustice being done to Noomi, who endured A YEAR AND A HALF of CONSTANT filming of the three Larsson movies, all shot one right after the other after the other, since Noomi has been replaced by an unknown American girl Rooney Mara. And that these beloved, hugely successful movies are being now remade IN ENGLISH by David Fincher….He who directed The Typing Movie…

Well, it wouldn’t surprise me to hear Noomi Rapace’s name called on BAFTA night.

And how will that impact the Oscar race for Best Actress? Well, if she’s not nominated, not a bit.

But I think people in England are enraged by these remakes by the presumptous Americans who have the NERVE to redo those beautiful Swedish movies! And watch they give their best director to home town boy Tom Hooper for “The King’s Speech.” NOT to David Fincher, who has the temerity to remake these Larsson/Salander movies! The NERVE of him!

 This would really set those Yankees back a few steps, if it was then to be recorded by all the journos in the world press, who are bound to write about these great Swedish films V. the trashy American re-makes. Well, the Swedish movies starred the BAFTA AWARD WINNING BEST ACTRESS NOOMI RAPACE. Then every time someone wrote about these new American versions,they’d HAVE to mention BAFTA. Not that Noomi could upset Natalie in the U.S. ,but in Britain she certainly could.

And Noomi would give a beautiful, charming,moving acceptance speech. You know she would.

And also, now that I think of it Noomi’s Lisbeth GETS A GUNSHOT WOUND TO THE BRAIN AT POINT BLANK RANGE !!! AND SURVIVES!!! There’s also that political parallel to be raised…so I’m raising it. Gaby Giffords is a heroine, but so is Lisbeth. Especially to Europeans. She’s a fictional character, but who can forget her first entrance in “Hornet’s Nest” where they are cutting open her skull, and are showing REMOVING A BULLET from her brain! And she SURVIVES!

And oh, Melissa Leo…back to her…

What has the BAFTA done to HER Oscar race? Well, I think it’s stopped it dead in its’ tracks, I’m sorry to say.

I think she and co-star Amy Adams will BOTH be nominated and cancel each other out and Helena Bonham-Carter will sweep in and win as she certainly will the BAFTAS for “The King’s Speech.”

However, what does Dave Karger think this does? Check out his updated lists at www.ew.com

But I’ll tell you who Dave has picked to win Best Supporting Actress now. AMY ADAMS!?!?

It could happen. She’s been nominated twice before. They know her. They love her. And she’s still young and beautiful and she’s wonderful in “The Fighter” too. Playing something she’s never played before. A tough, working class chick, a bartender no less.

So THAT’S what the BAFTAs have done with their snubbing of Melissa Leo, they’ve HELPED Amy Adams BIG TIME!

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